MARD: Marine environment in central region becomes stable

Fishermen and their catches in Quang Binh province (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The quality of the marine
environment in the central region becomes stable, meeting safety requirements
for aquaculture, tourism and conservation of aquatic animals and plants, according
to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

This is the result of a programme conducted by
the MARD from May 4-9, 2017 to assess the sea environment in the four central
provinces of Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue.

The programme, which was carried out one year
after the environmental incident relating to Hung Nghiep Formosa Ha Tinh Steel
Limited Company, was based on surveys conducted in 2016.

The monitoring results also revealed that the total
phenol and Fe levels are within the permitted limits as regulated in QCVN
10-MT: 2015/BTNMT and much lower than the 2016 observation results.

In order to further monitor and assess the
quality of the coastal marine environment, the MARD requested the four provinces
to closely coordinate with the ministry in supervising wastewater discharged from
the Hung Nghiep Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Limited Company.

The provinces were also asked to set up an
information system and a database, and apply cutting-edge technologies to
monitor and give warnings of marine environmental pollution. 

However, the MARD’s Directorate of Fisheries
warned that local fishermen in the four provinces should not catch seafood living
in the seabed within 20 nautical miles from the shore. 

The Ministry of Health also took samples of
seafood in waters off Hai Phong city in the north, Vung Tau city in the central
region and several other areas to check whether fish living in the seabed in
the central region is safe or not. The test results will be reported to the
Prime Minister and publicized in the coming time.

The Directorate of Fisheries has also instructed
fishery inspection forces to team up with local specialised agencies to conduct
joint patrols and inspections over fishing activities, and guide local
fishermen to abide by regulations on protecting aquatic resources. 

According to the Directorate, the compensation
for affected fishermen as well as the implementation of policies supporting
them are in line with the Government’s guidelines. The process is taking place
equally and transparently under the supervision of the public and

By the end of June, the provinces received 6.31
trillion VND (277.6 million USD) in compensation. Of the number, 5.53 trillion
VND (243.3 million USD) was delivered to the targeted fishermen. The remaining
will be distributed to the fishermen as soon as possible. 

Besides, each affected household is enabled to
borrow 100 million VND (4,400 USD) to serve their production while those still
owing to banks will get extensions for their loans. The locals have also
received aids in health insurance and tuition fees. 

Of note, in order to help local fishermen shift
to new jobs and offshore fishing, the provinces are carrying out a programme to
build 400 composite-hulled and wooden vessels with engines of 90 CV-400 CV.

Mass fish deaths were first reported on April 6,
2016 when many fish washed ashore in Ha Tinh province. The incident also
occurred in Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien Hue provinces.

Wastewater discharged from Formosa polluted more
than 200 kilometres of coastline, devastating the marine environment and local
economies of those provinces, which largely rely on fishing and tourism.

In June last year, Formosa accepted responsibility
for the incident and pledged 500 million USD in compensation for affected
fishermen, households and organisations.-VNA 

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